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School, Parents At Odds Over Claim Boy Was Suspended For Drawing Jesus

The sketch in question. Charles Krupa/AP hide caption

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Charles Krupa/AP

The sketch in question.

Charles Krupa/AP

Two very different accounts are being told by those involved in a story that's gotten national attention because the first reports said a second-grader had been suspended from school for drawing a picture of Jesus on a cross.

The boy's father says his son was sent home and required to see a psychiatrist.

School officials in Taunton, Mass., say the local newspaper — which first reported the news — and other outlets got the story all wrong.

The Boston Globe writes this morning that:

"The report is totally inaccurate,'' Julie Hackett, superintendent of the Taunton public schools, said in an interview in her office yesterday. "The inaccuracies in the original media story have resulted in a great deal of criticism and scrutiny of the system that is unwarranted.''

The original accounts, as the Associated Press wrote, were that "an 8-year-old Massachusetts boy was sent home from school and ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation after he was asked to make a Christmas drawing and sketched what appeared to be a stick figure of Jesus on a cross, the child's father said Tuesday."

That father, Chester Johnson, spent much of yesterday talking with reporters about what he says happened.

It was last evening when the school superintendent responded, issuing a statement saying that the boy had not been suspended, that the drawing that prompted some concern was not the one of Jesus on a cross (she did not describe the other image) and that students had not been asked to make sketches about Christmas "or any religious holiday."

We expect more will be said about this in coming days.